Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a topical fluoride treatment which is a clear liquid with higher fluoride concentration placed directly on cavities with a small brush or thick floss. SDF kills the bacteria that are causing the cavity and helps to bring minerals back into the tooth to strength the area where the cavity is starting. The goal of the treatment is to stop a cavity from growing. It is used in various situations including attempting to stop early cavities before they would require fillings or when treatment of the cavity may need to be delayed. In very young children, it may also treat cavities in a way that postpones or even prevents the need for treatment under sedation or general anesthesia.
SDF is very safe and applied in a manner preventing any significant ingestion of fluoride. It has been used for decades in other countries with strong evidence showing cavities stopping in 70-90% of teeth treated. SDF will stain the cavity black, but it will not stain any healthy part of the tooth. Cavities should be periodically re-evaluated to ensure the cavity has stopped, with additional applications placed as needed to continue to prevent the progression of the cavity. As the individual situation allows, these stained cavities can still be covered by fillings or crowns in the future.